April 12, 2010
After an 111-98 victory over the New York Knicks, the Miami Heat reestablished a tie with the Milwaukee Bucks for the five spot. A spot in which Milwaukee holds the advantage for.
Miami will close out the regular season with an away game at the Philadelphia 76ers followed by a home closer versus the New Jersey Nets. Milwaukee will face the Atlanta Hawks at home before heading on the road to battle the Boston Celtics.
In terms of difficulty, Miami will match-up against the easier opponents, while the Bucks close out against playoff contenders.
Nevertheless, appearances can be deceiving.
The 76ers and Nets, both out of the playoff picture, will have nothing to lose when they step on the hardcourt against the Heat. Thus, they should not be taken for granted and dubbed "easy wins." On the same token, Atlanta and Boston are still vying for the third seed in the East and will not rest their starters in the final games of the season.
Determination will crown the fifth seed as the mad dash to the finish will be won by whoever wants it more.
Milwaukee's surprising run has clinched them an ever-so-elusive playoff berth for the first time since 2006. And they hold the key to the final chapter of their regular season story. It will take some help from Miami's prospective playoff opponents to dethrone the Bucks from their spot, as well as some perseverance from the Heat roster to win out.
Will Dwyane Wade will his team to an impressive 12-1 record to close out the season? Or will Milwaukee's momentum outweigh Miami's push?
Although the postseason has not yet arrived, this is what playoff basketball is all about.